|Birth name||Robert Wachtel|
May 24, 1947 |
New York City, New York United States
|Genres||Rock, folk rock, pop, jazz|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, producer, bandleader|
|Instruments||Guitar, piano, vocals|
|Labels||Arista, Elektra, CBS, WEA, Columbia, EMI, Virgin, Asylum, Warner Bros., Giant|
|Associated acts||Stevie Nicks, The Cowsills, Jackson Browne, Bernard Fowler, Blondie Chaplin, Keith Richards, Warren Zevon, James Taylor, George Thorogood, Bob Weir, J.D. Souther, Linda Ronstadt|
|1958 Gibson Les Paul
1956 Fender Stratocaster
Robert "Waddy" Wachtel (born May 24, 1947) is an American musician, composer and record producer, most notable for his guitar work. Wachtel's passion for music and ease of adaptation toward a variety of genres have placed him in a position as one of the most in-demand session musicians throughout his career, playing with high-profile rock musicians that include Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, Keith Richards, James Taylor, Iggy Pop, Warren Zevon, Bryan Ferry and Jackson Browne, amongst others, both in the studio, and on tour.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Films
- 3 Session work
- 4 Tours and live performances
- 5 Misconceptions
- 6 Equipment
- 7 2000 to present
- 8 Discography (partial)
- 9 Filmography (Partial)
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Wachtel was born May 24, 1947, in Jackson Heights, Queens, in the New York City Borough of Queens. At about age 9–10, Wachtel began to learn to play the guitar, taking lessons with teacher Gene Dell (who insisted that he learn to play right-handed despite being naturally left-handed) until about age 14. This is the age, he says, that he began writing songs. He became proficient at playing all styles of guitar, including folk music, and found he had a special talent, not just for reading music, but also an ability that allowed him a large measure of recall—a true "ear for music." Wachtel gives much credit for his early training on guitar to Rudolph Schramm, who was the head of the NBC staff orchestra and went on to teach music at Carnegie Hall. Schramm tried to get Wachtel to take piano lessons, but Wachtel was intent on playing guitar so Schramm agreed to give him guitar lessons three times a week about rhythm, melody and harmony.
After performing with local bands in the New York area, Wachtel formed his own band, The Orphans, who played in Connecticut and New Hampshire. Eventually, Waddy and his then-current band settled into a regular bar band routine, playing in Newport, Rhode Island, where he studied seriously for a year, taking lessons from Sal Salvador, who he says taught him more about improvising and soloing than he had learned anywhere else. When the Orphans disbanded, he formed another band, Twice Nicely. At the suggestion of Bud Cowsill (of The Cowsills), he brought Twice Nicely to Los Angeles in 1968 where they recorded a few demos, but after two years, Wachtel decided to work as a session player, and was then persuaded to record with The Cowsills and produce their albums.
In 1972, he was invited to play in a cameo appearance in the film The Poseidon Adventure with the actual band on stage in the dining room when the ship capsizes. Wachtel can be seen in the final film during this sequence. Wachtel has composed the scores for many movies throughout his career, as well as playing various instruments for them. Some of these films include Joe Dirt, Up in Smoke, Nice Guys Sleep Alone, Alabama Love Story, The Longest Yard, The Benchwarmers, Grandma's Boy, The Last Request, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Strange Wilderness, The House Bunny, and Paul Blart: Mall Cop. He has also composed and produced songs with Warren Zevon, Joe Walsh, Jackson Browne and other artists that appear in many other films. He is also featured prominently backing Linda Ronstadt in the 1978 film FM.
By 1973, he was being approached by various artists and producers to play on their albums, and hooked up with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, playing on their first album Buckingham Nicks (credited as 'Waddy', no surname), and touring with the band. Later, when Nicks and Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac, he played rhythm guitar on their 1975 album Fleetwood Mac on a few tracks. The album went 5x Platinum.
In 1980, he wrote, recorded and sang lead vocals on an album for producer Peter Asher with members of Linda Ronstadt's band, including musicians Don Grolnick, Dan Dugmore, and Rick Marotta. Both the group and the album were titled Ronin. Released on the Mercury label, the record never charted. The release party at the Golden Bear nightclub in Huntington Beach was attended by many top names from the California Sound period including Jackson Browne, Andrew Gold, John David Souther and Peter Asher himself. Wachtel and Ronin were joined onstage by several others in what was considered a barn burner of an encore for its day.
He has appeared on hundreds of albums over the years, and has been a mainstay of the Los Angeles music scene. Among the artists and bands he has worked with are The Everly Brothers, Jackson Browne, Kim Carnes, Rosanne Cash, The Church, The Cowsills, Bob Dylan, Silver Condor, Gilby Clarke, Melissa Etheridge, Bryan Ferry, Bernard Fowler, Andrew Gold, Don Henley, Carole King, Miranda Lambert, The Motels, John Mayer, Maria Muldaur, Randy Newman, Steve Perry, Iggy Pop, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Linda Ronstadt, Adam Sandler, Bob Seger, Carly Simon, The Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Tom Waits, Warren Zevon and Laura Allan.
Production credits include albums by Keith Richards, Jackson Browne, Bryan Ferry, The Church, Sand Rubies, George Thorogood and the Destroyers and Warren Zevon. Wachtel co-wrote several songs with Zevon including "Werewolves of London," for which he wrote the opening verse (which was voted by BBC Radio 2 listeners as the greatest ever in 2004). He also co-wrote the Warren Zevon song "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead." He performed and co-produced the first two Zevon albums, considered his classics, and was a major contributor to the Warren Zevon sound. He is much quoted throughout the new book on Zevon's life, written by Crystal Zevon, entitled I'll Sleep When I'm Dead. Zevon complimented Wachtel on a radio interview with Redbeard in the Studio, when he said that introducing anyone to Wachtel was a wonderful thing to do, and that he'd met a lot of musical connections through him.
Tours and live performances
Wachtel has toured with the Everly Brothers, Carole King, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Adam Sandler, Stevie Nicks, and Keith Richards (in the X-Pensive Winos). His distinctive guitar sound, vocal harmonies, arrangement techniques and the ability to add exciting guitar riffs to headlining performer's gigs made him a sought-after entity in the world of live tours. He was also called upon during many of his tours to be Musical Director, using his talents and sensitive musical ear to bring all the musicians on the tours into accord with the music. Wachtel has been touring with Nicks for many years, serving as her bandleader, musical director, and lead guitarist. He has also appeared on each of her solo albums and on several television shows.
Wachtel has been credited on some early albums as "Bob Wachtel" (short for his birth-name "Robert"). Erroneous internet sources include the name "Richard Wachtel" in some album credits, but that name was never used in any album liner notes. There was never a "Richard Wachtel" who played on any of those albums.
Wachtel and his wife Annie were arrested in 1998 on suspicion of possession of child pornography after illicit images were found on their computer after they had taken it in for repair. The case against Wachtel's wife was dismissed; Wachtel pleaded no contest and was placed on probation for three years.
Wachtel prefers his vintage 1958 Gibson Les Paul and his 1956 Fender Stratocaster for sound. He said in a 1980 interview that the newest made guitar he owned, after twelve years in the music industry was a 1964 Fender Stratocaster.
2000 to present
Wachtel assembled a band bearing his name performing regularly at the Los Angeles venue The Joint since 2000. The band includes Wachtel, Phil Jones, Rick Rosas, and Jamie Savko, with regular guests Bernard Fowler, Blondie Chaplin and Keith Allison. Special guests who have sat in with the band have included Keith Richards, Joe Walsh, Robert Plant, Eric Burdon, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Roger Daltrey, Billy Squier, Adam Sandler, P.F. Sloan and others.
Wachtel appeared on the CMT Crossroads episode which aired on Sep 13, 2013 and featured Stevie Nicks and Lady Antebellum.
Wachtel appeared with Nicks on The Tonight Show (hosted by Jimmy Fallon) on April 10, 2014. He accompanied Nicks (along with the show's band Roots) on the song "Edge of Seventeen".
With Karla Bonoff
|1977||Karla Bonoff||Columbia Records|
|1979||Restless Nights||Columbia Records|
|1982||Wild Heart of the Young||Columbia Records|